Richard and Weez Excellent Adventure - November 1998...

5th November 1998

It's Guy Fawkes and I am sitting looking out of our window getting a display of skyrockets from our distant neighbours.  Now when I say sky rockets, these are real rockets.  I saw some in a shop in Tonbridge Wells this week.  The stick was four feet long and the rocket was the size of two cans of Coke end on end.  These babies are monsters!  They look and sound great too.  Most of the organised displays are on this Saturday, although I believe there is one down near London Bridge on the 14th.  I pass London Bridge every night on the way home from work and it looks quite grand all lit up.

I have been working at NPI for a bit over three weeks now and I am starting to feel like a piece of the woodwork now which is good.  The trains seem to be very unreliable at the moment.  It is now taking me two hours to get home as well as two hours to get there.  In a way I can't believe I am travelling so long for work but it still seems reasonably tolerable.  Perhaps it seems better because even though it makes for a 12 hour day, it is still three hours less than when I was working for Alcatel.   I still even have enough motivation to cook tea when I get home including the odd vegetable so things can't be too bad.  I do look forward to coming home eventually in a few years and returning to some kind of normality like getting to work in under 20 minutes!

Louise is very busy at the moment.  Something to do with US Tax Law and the shift of Lucas Varity to America.  I am going out with her and some of the people from her work tomorrow night so it should be a good night.  At least I will know where she is and make sure she gets home safely.  She wonders why I worry, yet only a couple of days ago, a girl was murdered somewhere over here, perhaps by someone who stole a taxi and picked her up by herself.

Last weekend was spent Christmas shopping.  It was the most stressful time I have had down town here yet.  It was cold and rainy and Oxford Street was absolutely teeming with people.  On top of that, both of the pockets in my jeans had holes in them so I had to contemplate buying a new pair.  Anyone who knows me knows that I hate clothes shopping!  Anyway, after 5 minutes in a clothes shop it was clear that

- The jeans cost too much.
- I didn't like anything in the shop.
- I just had to get out....!

Solution:  I went to Selfridges and bought half a metre of repair tape.  My pockets are now good for another two years at least.  All at a bargain repair price of 25p.  Excellent!!   Louise wasn't very impressed.  She told me I was a worse clothes shopper than her dad! (I know I can write this because she is about 2 months behind reading anything on this site!)

I feel like taking a day out this weekend and totally geeking out an writing some software.  There are a couple of things I want to get done but I'm a bit concerned if I do, I will feel like I wasted the weekend.  Will have to wait and see.   Anyway, that's just a small update.  Nothing gripping really.  More L8R.......


10th November 1998

Last Saturday was to be a great day for me.  Louise at work all day and me at home alone with my computer fondling its keys all afternoon.  Not to be.....

I got up early and went into town to a computer fair and managed to spend nothing.   Perhaps this weekend!!  I then went and transferred some money to New Zealand at Midland Bank. (I found out last night that we got $3.10 per pound we sent home - we were stoked.  It was $2.80 per pound when we came over here and we thought that was bad!).  Anyway, I bumped into Louise at Bond Street on my way home.  She was off to work to help prepare some accounts because it was expected that a vote to to change the domicile of the LucasVarity Group to the United States was going to be passed.   As it transpired it didn't go through. 

So, my dreams in tatters, we ended up going to the 4pm performance of the show 'Woman in Black'.  This would have to be one of those shows that you can afford to miss.   I woke up after the first half hour or so when it became vaguely interesting.   The couple in front of us left at half time and never came back!  What we did after the show I don't remember.  Mind you, I don't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday so that might say something in itself!  I think Sunday was a very slow lazy day.  A bit of a waste really, but we were both tired so that's how it goes sometimes I guess.  Somewhere in there I did manage to geek out for an hour and write a little javascript ditty which you see at the top of the page - How many days till Christmas?

Week days have been continuing on as usual.  Get up, shower, travel to work, work, travel home, cook tea, sleep, get up, shower........ until Tuesday when as usual I stopped at a small shop in Charing Cross railway station to buy my breakfast and the lady there said "Oh - you're regular here I'll give you discount".  It came as somewhat of a surprise to me to get this in such a big city, but anyway it saves me 40p a day so I wont argue.  I think she has the hots for me.  Louise thinks she feels sorry for me! 

Louise continues to get increasingly cheekier.  In an ongoing attempt to instil some habit into her life by getting her to hang everything up when she walks in the door rather than dropping it all on the floor and on the bed I get comments like 'You sound awfully like my mum', 'You should be a policeman' and 'You're just a mister ploppy pants'.   She is really very grateful for my guidance I am sure!

It's Thursday tonight and we've totally run out of food so I had to call the Pizza man (well, we ran out a few days ago - I should be on the Web ordering stuff but I'm doing this right now so if we shrivel up and starve, it's all your fault!).  Anyone looking for a free holiday is welcome to contact us.  All you have to do is clean the house, keep the cupboards stocked and cook our meals.  Invitations even extend to in laws!!

So, once again that's about it.  I'll try to write something again this Sunday night before everything that happened during the weekend falls out of my ears.  So until then..... Orivouir?


24th November 1998

So much for me updating this page last Sunday before I forgot what happened.  So what did happen?  Louise slept in very very late on Saturday.  I got up early and headed to that terrible haunt I have found - the computer sale...... and came home with a complete computer.  A  Compaq Deskpro XL 560.  Why was this attractive to me?  Well, it is a Pentium 60 (not blindingly fast but fast enough for what I want it for) but the main thing is it has an Integrated PCI SCSI-2 controller as well as an onboard Ethernet controller.  These parts alone would have cost me as much separately as I paid for the whole computer - 175 pounds.  So I was stoked.  The hard drive was only 270Mb so that got replaced.   More on that later.

Saturday night was very enjoyable.  Susan and Brian took us out to tea to a Thai restaurant in Clapham 'for letting them stay'.  Totally unnecessary for them to do that but very nice all the same.  The food was great and we went across the road to a nice pub that wasn't too noisy or smoky and ended up spending the rest of the night talking to a POM, a Scot and a German, eating desert...... and drinking one or two pints of course.

Sunday was a bit of a non event really.  We were both tired so we got up late and eventually made it to IKEA by 4.30PM.  IKEA is a place that I can only describe to the Kiwi's amongst you as similar to Levenes, only ten times as big and much cheaper.  Louise had spotted what looked to be a sensibly designed computer table in their catalogue which we have been on the lookout for for quite some time now.  Boy was it crowded.  We had to queue in zig zagged turnstiles in a tent before we could get through the main doors.  We found the table, decided we liked it but decided not to join the masses in the checkout queues just then - I would get up early one morning and beat them all there!  The weather was absolutely freezing (as it still is) and I spent the next half hour waiting for the bus with Louise pointed into the wind and me hiding behind her trying to keep warm.   I got constant reminders that I needed to buy new warm clothes - an adventure that struck fear into me.

The rest of the week was wake, travel, work, travel, buy Chinese takeaways (still no food in the house), rack my brain trying to get my new computer working, sleep, wake, travel......

By Friday night I had finally figured out how Compaq configure their computers (they don't have a BIOS configuration available at start-up like most clones) and how to get the SCSI CD ROM working.  A lot of help was gained from one member of the Internet community which was without a doubt extremely valuable.

Ahhhh - back to Saturday again...... computer sale time!!!!  This time I managed to pick up a copy of NT Workstation 4.0 and a 4.5GB SCSI hard drive for excellent prices.   So - why a second computer.  Well, I figured it wasn't just geeky enough to have a web site so I thought I would build a network at home - the second computer will be my server.  Since I don't own NT Server, the network will be a peer to peer model for the time being.  It will allow me to experiment with some things at home that relate to my work at the moment.  If I get time (which is highly unlikely) I may try get Linux working as the server, but Linux is the ultimate geeks operating system and I really don't think I have the time to get to grips with it right now.   So, all I need now is a hub and an Ethernet card for my laptop and I should be away.  Network Quake here I come!

Saturday afternoon was clothes shopping time for me.  The boss dragged me through all the trendy shops trying to fit me out.  I was happy with the first pair of jeans that fitted just to get out  but Louise insisted that I tried on nearly every pair just to get 'the best fit'.  Anyway, stress, three hours, wall to wall crowds Christmas shopping, a couple of bargains (Louise always gets bargains) and a slightly lighter wallet we finally left.  Louise had got me some new clothes that she thought I looked pretty good in.  When I saw myself in the mirror at home I even got pretty excited!  Louise deserves a medal for putting up with my complaints in the shops.

We went to a new movie complex two stops down from our place on the way home to see Ronin.  I still don't know what was in the silver suitcase?  The cinema was huge.  Big seats (including double seats for lovers!) and tons of leg room - even I could stretch my legs out with comfort.   No more having to sit in the isles so I can hang my legs out the side.

Sunday was once again slow.  Louise went to her new gym to get her hair styled or whatever it is girls have done to their hair and I took the opportunity to dash back to IKEA and get our computer table.   I got it home in a minicab and assembled it that afternoon with assistance from Louise.  Finally a comfy table to work at - no more aches and pains.

So, now it is Wednesday.  I have been watching Bathurst for the last couple of nights which my mum videoed for me and sent over - thanks mum.  We both have Friday off work and we are going to Heathrow to say good bye to Norma and Tony.  They are visiting New Zealand for a second time and they are kindly taking all of our Christmas presents with them.  I'll be in heaven because I love airports and watching the planes.  Louise thinks I am pretty sad!

Louise has just arrived home and shown me a huge bruise on her leg.  Perhaps she was sleep walking again last night and I don't remember - it looks like she must have hit the bedside cabinet.  Two nights ago she pushed me out of bed and quickly followed because the 'roof was collapsing'.  I hit my head on the floor and wasn't very happy!

So, till next time keep cool and groovy.

R & L